When you picture an afternoon on the water on your sailboat, speed boat, or pontoon boat, you probably picture yourself leaning back with your feet up, the wind and water slapping against your face. Despite the fact that you may be 10, 20, 30, or more miles offshore, you may require internet access from your boat at times.
When you're on the water, you can stay in touch with business or family, or even enjoy yourself by streaming a show, thanks to marine satellite internet or boat Wi-Fi. Although there are fewer possibilities for boat internet than there are for home internet, you still have a few options.
There are two important points to keep in mind as you research your options: floating vessels can have Wi-Fi, and there are three main ways to link your boat to the internet:
Satellite internet system – a satellite antenna, a connection device, and a data plan are all required for satellite internet on a boat.
Booster and cellular hotspot
Top 3 Satellite Internet
Sailor 900 VSAT System
The Sailor 900 VSAT System is a high-end naval satellite internet system that costs somewhere between $37,000 and $53,000. SatPhoneStore.com, ComSat, High Seas Technology, and other maritime retailers and websites that specialize in boating and boat satellite systems sell it.
The Sailor 900 VSAT System is a fully designed and ready-to-use stabilized satellite antenna system. Prior to installation, no additional work is required. The above-deck antenna is connected to your cabin system through a single connection. It will supply you with broadband internet that is always on for a set charge.
The Garmin inReach Explorer+, which is available on Amazon, is a more economical choice for boat internet.
The Iridium satellite network is used by Garmin inReach Explorer+ to provide global connectivity. However, in addition to the device's purchase price, the Iridium network demands a membership charge. The Garmin inReach Explorer+ features two-way text messaging, an interactive SOS, and 24/7 search and rescue monitoring, as well as the ability to link to compatible Android and iPhone tablets and phones via the Earthmate app for access to NOAA charts and other features. It contains preloaded DeLorme TOPO (topographic) maps with onscreen GPS routing.
The Iridium Go! Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot is a satellite communications device that uses the Iridium satellite network. It is a mid-range alternative. It's available for purchase on Amazon. You'll also need an Iridium satellite network subscription or a pay-as-you-go option in addition to the gadget.
You may connect up to five Android or iOS mobile phones and tablets to the Iridium Go! Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot wirelessly. You can make phone calls from your mobile device while connected to the Iridium Go! Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot, in addition to sending text messages. It's easy to use: once the Iridium Go! Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot is turned on, it connects to satellite automatically, allowing you to connect your mobile devices. When you're out on the water, the Iridium Go! Predict Wind app can help you keep track of the weather.
A membership to the Iridium Satellite Network is required for both the Garmin inReach Explorer+ and the Iridium Go! Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot. The company offers a variety of plans with varied data allowances. The basic Go! 40 plan costs $60 per month and includes 40 minutes of data. The Go! 90 plan, which includes 90 minutes of data for $100 per month, and the Go! 250 plan, which includes 250 minutes of data for $108 per month, are two other options. The company's top-tier package, the Go! Unlimited costs $150 per month and includes 150 minutes of calling and unlimited data.
Mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi extenders are two other boat internet choices. Most cellular companies, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as electrical stores like Best Buy, sell mobile hotspots. They can cost anything from $0 to $14.17 per month on a monthly basis, or $50 to $230 for a one-time purchase. The difficulty with mobile hotspots is that they require you to be near a provider's cell tower in order to receive a signal. This means you won't be able to go more than five to ten miles out to sea.
The range of Wi-Fi networks is extended by using a Wi-Fi extender. A Wi-Fi extender could improve your range and keep you connected if you're on the water near public Wi-Fi networks like those found at marinas, restaurants, and businesses. You can't go too far offshore, though, like a mobile hotspot. The advantage is that you will not be charged a monthly fee once you have purchased the equipment.
When you're out on the ocean, you don't have to unplug from the rest of the world. There are boat internet alternatives to suit every sailing scenario and budget.
A mobile hotspot or Wi-Fi extension could be a possibility if you don't go too far from shore and don't use your boat all the time. However, if you want to cruise on the broad seas far from land, you'll need a satellite internet system. Then decide whether you want a low-cost choice like the Garmin inReach Explorer+ (from $350-$450), a mid-range option like the Iridium Go! Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot (from $695-$775), or a high-end solution like the Sailor 900 VSAT System (from $37,000-$53,000).
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